Automotive Aftermarket

Making Global Product Management Easier for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

For those of you like me who have been in the automotive aftermarket industry for a number of years, you understand the common challenge that all of us have been facing for over a decade – how do you determine if parts being sold in the U.S. or Europe have applications that can generate revenue in other parts of the world? And how do you identify vehicles that are more likely to have the same components as those on the road in different countries? I've never found these questions to be easy...
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Threats to Upsell Opportunities in the Automotive Aftermarket

I rely on some form of a "mileage countdown" system when tracking the time to change the oil in my car. Whether it's an electronic display on my dashboard or a sticker in the upper lefthand corner of my windshield, I'm regularly comparing my current mileage against the target that commands a visit to my local lube/oil shop. Unfortunately, it's kind of like waiting for your alarm clock to hit the magical point when the buzzer goes off early in the morning. You know it's coming, but you really...Re...
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Two Key Reasons Why Automotive Sales in BRIC Should Be On Your Radar

Welcome to a series of blog posts about the global automotive market based on a paper that I recently worked on with a set of colleagues that discusses important strategic questions for automotive business planners. For those of you interested in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), this blog focuses on the question, "Will BRIC countries continue to drive organic growth in the automotive industry?" Answer: Yes! Why? Of the 38 percent jump Polk expects to see for global light... R...
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Congratulations 2012 Polk Inventory Efficiency Award Winners!

It was my pleasure to co-present the Polk Inventory Efficiency Awards last night at the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) along with my colleague, Mark Seng. We honored two outstanding aftermarket companies for their process improvements relative to inventory and supply chain efficiency. This year’s Inventory Efficiency Awards competition was one of the closest yet. Over the past eight years, we’ve recognized some truly great companies that have created outstanding results for...
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Are You Holding Your Vehicle Longer?

Americans continue to hold on to their cars and trucks longer than ever before. Nearly six years (71 months) among new vehicle owners is the latest trend. New Polk consumer research shows the opportunities for professionals managing OEM aftersales and the automotive aftermarket operations should have a lot to look forward to given this trend. It's about parts and service business, folks. Two years ago, I posted a blog on the same behavior and when we started to see a real incline in the...
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Where is the Aftermarket In-Vehicle Infotainment Industry?

In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) holds the promise of integrating all things navigable, sociable and mobile...able into a vehicle. The possibilities hold great promise. Acceptance and demand for manufacturers to make cars with embedded systems has grown with an increase in technology acceptance, and now the connected consumer is expecting a connected car. Chrysler's UConnect, Ford's Sync, and BMW's iDrive are all great examples of systems that OEMs have installed to make the driving experience...
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Industry Unpredictability: The New Black

In the business of automotive information, we use vehicle registrations along with numerous other data sources to look at things such as the automotive forecast, automotive aftermarket opportunities, model and make loyalty, and overall general buyer behavior through custom consumer research. All of these efforts require a thorough understanding of the automotive industry, the world economy, current events, consumer preferences, and so many other influences. The "other" category is where the...Rea...
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Scrappage...Got Personal

For those of you who have been in a crash while driving or being a passenger in an automobile, you'll identify with me. If you will, allow me to share my thoughts hailing from a personal auto wreck experience late last month (April 2011).Driving home from work, literally 5 minutes from the office, I was rear-ended while sitting at a stop light by a large SUV who simply forgot to put on the brakes. Wrong place at the wrong time I guess. My precious Mazda6 is thrown into the intersection and...Read...
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Where You At? Geo-Location Services Change the Conversation

Companies like Yelp, Foursquare, and Gowalla have forever changed the digital marketing landscape with their proximity check-in and geo-location "friend spotting" services. For whatever reason, some people like their friends (and some random strangers) to know exactly where they've been, where they are, and possibly create charts about where they will be in the future. Alright, maybe that last one was going a little far but still, the digital marketing landscape will be forever changed by what...
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Mobile Marketing: To App or Not to App

Since the proliferation of smartphones, people have gone application crazy. Digital marketing in the mobile space has thus become more fragmented than a candy cane shattered inside of its' cellophane wrapper. Advertisers are faced with the decision of whether or not they should take a risk and only write code for Apple's iOS application based platform, or extend it to CSS3, JavaScript, C++ and HTML5 code for multitudinous device access. It's no secret I'm not a huge fan of Apple, Steve Jobs,...Re...
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Holding on for the Longer Haul - Part II

Like the Energizer Bunny, ownership trends "keep on going" per the pattern I blogged about earlier this year. Current trends show that the average number of months one holds onto a new or used vehicle is over 52 months. This is good for the automotive aftermarket since you'd assume these cars and trucks need to stay in good shape. It's a challenge for dealers trying to improve their new vehicle sales. Let's hope longer vehicle retention also translates to stronger customer retention, but...Read...
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Automotive Loyalty Event Hits Homerun with Long Beach Attendees

Wow, what a turnout for the Automotive Loyalty Summit held in Long Beach! If you didn’t attend, you missed a terrific event. Below are just a few comments I heard from my customers:"All the presenters were very informative and knowledgeable about their areas" "My take away was 'Listen to the customer Talk with them' and 50% of customers are loyal to the brand but only 30% are loyal to the dealer. You only have ONE opportunity to make an impression so use it wisely."  "Very nice meeting."Over...
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NACE 2010 - The World's Collision Repair Event

NACE, the International Autobody Congress & Exposition, which takes place October 10-13, is the world's collision repair event! This year celebrates the 28th annual NACE event. Created to provide buyers and sellers of the collision repair community with a place to network, NACE is the only professional event dedicated to the industry. With more than 80 educational sessions planned, unmatched networking opportunities, and a world class show floor, NACE is a unique marketplace to see all the...Read...
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Innovative In-Vehicle Electronics for Current and Future Cars

Hello! I've just attended a webinar titled, "Innovative In-Vehicle Electronics with IBM's Rational Software Platform" which discussed innovative electronics for current and future automobiles. Sponsored by Automotive News and IBM, the presentation focused on the ideas that our cars are instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. There has been a huge increase in electronics and embedded software during the past several years. Did you know there was only one computer onboard a vehicle in...
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Congratulations to Tenneco, Inc. - Winner of the 2010 Polk Inventory Efficiency Award

I want to extend my personal congratulations to Tenneco, Inc., winner of the 2010 Polk Inventory Efficiency Award. The Polk Inventory Efficiency Award recognizes and rewards outstanding automotive aftermarket companies for process improvements relative to inventory efficiency. This year’s award was presented at the recent Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS). Tenneco, headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, was honored for the development and implementation of INVision™, its... Read...
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The "New Normal" for the Automotive Aftermarket

In a recent interview about how scrappage and other vehicle trends are affecting the independent aftermarket and dealer service marketing, I was asked "What is the new normal?" Well, of course working for Polk, I instantly talked about the new "normal" as being new vehicle sales in the neighborhood of 11 to 13-million per year. And how the normal is not the 15 to 16 million units that the industry thought it was as recently as two years ago.  However, recently at the Global Automotive... Read...
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Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium - A Review of Day Two

Here are several highlights from the second and final day of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS).
  • John Watt of Petro-Canada provided an interesting insight into why aftermarket service providers leave billions of unperformed maintenance on the table. It seems there is a lot of unsold business that can be corrected with just scheduling appointments regularly and consistently. 
  • A  Shop Owner Panel followed and was moderated by Bill Haas, Vice President – Educational and Training,...
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Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium - A First Day Review

This year's Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) has started off strongly with speakers discussing a variety of topics including the economy, automotive repair chain growth, the Chinese aftermarket and how to grow your business. The highlight of the first day was the presentation of the Polk Inventory Efficiency Award which was won by Tenneco, Inc. They developed a system of managing inventory for their distribution centers, WD's, Jobbers and sales personnel. The system works...
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Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium 2010

Be sure to join us at the upcoming Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) which will be held on May 18-19, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont near the O'Hare Airport. Close to 400 senior managers, executives and others from the automotive aftermarket will be in attendance including retailers/wholesalers such as AutoZone, NAPA, Federated, Pepboys, Uni-Select, and Carquest.The event has a full agenda of speakers and panels to discuss current topics in the automotive aftermarket....Read...
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Holding on for the Longer Haul

I did a brief interview for a public radio program last week and they asked me about people and their ownership patterns of cars and trucks. Specifically, they wanted to know if people were hanging onto their wheels longer and why. Short answer: "Yes."Americans Continue to Hold Onto Vehicles Longer   The trend we've seen over the last 8 years is pretty stark. As new and used vehicle sales in the U.S. have taken a hit in recent years, the chances that we'll hold onto our vehicle for longer...
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